COLA Connections Newsletter: Spring 2016

From the Desk of the Dean

“I give you this toast: To the Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees.”  -J.R.R. Tolkien

For me, the months of February and March feel as if the descendants of Saruman (i.e., the “Sarumans” from Tolkien’s toast) are a bit too close, and another Rochester winter a bit too long.  Yet, just when I think that the White Wizard has us under his spell, here comes April, with trees budding, flowers blooming, and students emerging onto the quarter mile and making campus feel as alive as the foliage.   Welcome to another spring in the College of Liberal Arts!  Once again we are pleased to offer you a number of compelling stories in this issue of our newsletter.

First, we shine a spotlight on the amazing work of fourth-year International & Global Studies major, Amanda Schartau.  In addition to her campus responsibilities as student and Peer Mentor for COLA’s international students, Amanda works with multiple off-campus agencies and non-profits to help newly-placed refugee families settle in our Rochester community. She was recently recognized for her efforts with the prestigious Bruce R. James ‘64 Distinguished Public Service Award.  This is a major honor and the entire COLA community is immensely proud of her.

Service to community is something that many of our students continue to value even after they graduate.  Public Policy alumnus Christopher Samp serves our country through his work as a Research Assistant in the U.S. Senate.  But Chris also serves his community through his involvement with Deaf in Government, an organization dedicated to empowering Deaf and Hard of Hearing federal employees. Chris explains how his time at RIT not only prepared him academically for his career, but also helped him develop into a leader and problem-solver within his community.

We’ll also highlight Communication student Bernard Rogers who was selected for a major global scholarship through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to study abroad in several major European cities next year. The organization’s Global Scholars program funds 18 weeks in three cities for students to gain deep intercultural perspectives, all while documenting their travels with digital storytelling.

Finally, we’ll examine how digital storytelling is being explored right here on campus.  Dr. Trent Hergenrader teaches several innovative courses that combine the digital sphere with creative writing and game-based learning.  One of his courses, World Building, explores both critical theory and collaborative, interactive narratives to give students a unique way of studying these ideas.

We hope you enjoy the spring issue of our newsletter. If you have any questions or comments about activities within COLA, please let me know at